Thanet South Labour MP Dr Steve Ladyman is reportedly to write to Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families over Kent County Council’s recent announcement that it intends to retain both Chatham House grammar school and Clarendon House grammar school on their existing sites.
It is thought the county council was considering a merger as part of its strategy to deal with falling pupil numbers across Kent but that option was scrapped by the Conservative-led County Hall.
Kent Online reports taht Dr Ladyman said that the decision was politically motivated and had not been subject to any public consultation. He believes the council has yet to prove how its plans are viable.
“This decision was taken [by KCC] to get my Conservative parliamentary opponent of the hook and the national Conservative party off the hook,” he said.
He wanted the minister to “consider carefully” whether the government should give KCC grant money it wants to re-build and re-furbish the schools under the Building Schools for The Future, a government led programme.
“KCC’s announcement says everything about the Conservative authority’s desire to protect grammar schools and is nothing to do with improving education across the wider area. At the very least, KCC should be having a public consultation over this. I will be writing to the minister setting out what is going on and to say he should think very carefully,” the MP said.
The county council had failed to do its job properly by giving the public a say on its plans or by examining other options.
“They [KCC] have not done their job and the government should be telling them so. If a public consultation comes down in favour of keeping both, then fine - but I want everyone to be involved.”
KCC’s Conservative administration has denied its decision was political and said it wanted to end speculation about the fate of the two schools.
Ed: So what's wrong, if anything, with protecting our excellnet Grammar Schools in Thanet? I'm sure we'll have some interesting contribitions on this topic. Over to you Chris Wells?